101 Silversea Silver Galapagos Cruise Reviews

I have been on more than 20 cruises, about half just my wife and the rest with my children (all under 16 now.) All in all, I have been very satisfied with the crusies we have taken. After reading reviews about the Silver Galapogos, I went ... Read More
I have been on more than 20 cruises, about half just my wife and the rest with my children (all under 16 now.) All in all, I have been very satisfied with the crusies we have taken. After reading reviews about the Silver Galapogos, I went in with relatively low expections about the quality of the ship and high expectations about the service. I will say that ship met my expectations. Let me start with the possitives. The staff were eager to help and friendly. The naturalists really know their stuff and were very knowledgable. For the negatives, the power generator is turned off at night to save on fuel and the air conditioning only cools the room to about 85 degrees. When we talk with the staff we were first told that this was due to new regulations and there was nothing that could be done and then we were told that it was due to mechanical failure. The food was even worse than expected given the reviews. Most meals were served cold and took a very long time. Despite the fact that the ship was not full, the staff seemed overwhelmed. My 10 year old missed two days of exploring as a result of a stomach bug he picked up on day 3. The medical staff was helpful but diasspointing nonetheless. All in all, the trip was a big dissapointment. We could have spent much less and had at least the same experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My family and I have been on many cruises and had reasonable expectations for the Silver Galapagos given the many negative reviews. The air conditioning on the ship did not work well most nights. We were informed by the staff that this ... Read More
My family and I have been on many cruises and had reasonable expectations for the Silver Galapagos given the many negative reviews. The air conditioning on the ship did not work well most nights. We were informed by the staff that this is an expedition cruise and such should be expected. The food was terrible by any standards. The accomidations were as expected, but again, we had low expectations. The public rooms smelled of mildew and mold. Having been to the Galapagos three times now, I can say with confidence that this cruise is highly over priced given our experience. Other operators offered better service, food and accommodations for about 60% of the cost. On the positive side, the naturalists were very knowledgeable and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My family and I have been on more than a dozen cruises, two of which were expedition cruises. My husband and I have been to the Galapogos twice and wanted to share the experience with our teenage girls. We could not have been more ... Read More
My family and I have been on more than a dozen cruises, two of which were expedition cruises. My husband and I have been to the Galapogos twice and wanted to share the experience with our teenage girls. We could not have been more disappointed with the amenities, the accommodations, the food or the service. Despite the best efforts by the staff and crew, the daily activities were totally disorganized. Pick-ups and drops were very often late and activities were overbooked. Also, the air-airconditioning system is turned off at night leaving our room in the mid 80s. This is something that I read from other reviews and specifically asked our representative at Silversea about. We were told that this was a onetime mechanical issue. We learned from the staff onboard that this is a new cost saving measure and is directed by HQ. In any event, we were very uncomfortable at night. The only real positive is that the naturalists were great, but it should be noted that they are not Silversea employees. Rather they work for the park service in the Galapagos. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Some of my thoughts on the Silver Galapagos: The ship was nice, certainly not off the charts 4+/5 star and I couldn't tell that the cabins were redone in last three months- especially the bathrooms. The service was thoughtful and ... Read More
Some of my thoughts on the Silver Galapagos: The ship was nice, certainly not off the charts 4+/5 star and I couldn't tell that the cabins were redone in last three months- especially the bathrooms. The service was thoughtful and there was a clear language barrier at times. Most of the 7 guides were great - really knowledgable and personable and the best part of the trip besides the flora and fauna. The transfers were fine and the Marriott was a good hotel. The Oro Verde was ok. The food was eh until the last night and it was much better. I was disappointed in the food. Considering the prestige of Silverseas I would say the food was definitely not on a four/five star level. The flights were ok. For us Lan was better than American - planes had more room, hot meal and not ridiculous things said like by an AA agent that there was no record of our flights from Miami to Quito as I was standing in Newark airport about to get on to flight to Miami! The timing of the flights back was absolutely ridiculous for a trip that costs that much- 4 hours or so in Miami airport at 4 am does not deserve multiple stars. All in all I would not run to spend the kind of money I did on Silverseas. The trip is $$$ and I expect a lot because of Silverseas reputation. The highlight is the amazing sights and I would recommend seeing the Galapagos on less pricey ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have just returned from Voyage 8440 and although the Expedition Staff on and off the Silver Galapagos were 10 out of 10, we amongst many of the guests were appalled with the quality of the food and service. The breakfast buffet was of a ... Read More
We have just returned from Voyage 8440 and although the Expedition Staff on and off the Silver Galapagos were 10 out of 10, we amongst many of the guests were appalled with the quality of the food and service. The breakfast buffet was of a very poor quality and variety. Twice I ordered eggs at breakfast and they simply were not delivered, every day the sausages, bacon and scrambled eggs on the buffet were cold, now I don't mean warm or tepid I mean stone cold. At dinner on 3 days running there was no sorbet and on two full days no vanilla ice cream. The head chef stopped by our table and I asked what the problem was with the sorbet and the ice cream and he told us that they had run out and did not have the machinery to produce them - this is frankly absurd, and pathetic for a 'head' chef. The food at dinner was most nights over cooked. On one night I order my steak rare, the first one was well done, so I asked for it as I ordered, so the waiter kindly replaced it with another one also well done, the third one was possibly medium and I frankly just accepted it and didn't bother eating it. The waiters served the rather ordinary wine haphazardly, topping up a half glass of red wine with a totally different wine for example, regularly. The layout and decor of the restaurant is very dull, repressive and refectory like. The piano lounge is just a mess, the lighting is turgid and the furniture and decor smacks of the 1970's. This ambiance, service and food was not what we were expecting from our previous trips on the Silver Explorer. Great expedition, but 3* hotel service. All in all Silversea let is down. On the positive side we came home without putting any weight on. This was not a Silversea as we had come to know it. All the trips to the Galapagos follow the same itinerary, with the same qualified guides, so why we paid a significant premium for substandard service with Silversea is in hindsight extremely disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Was worried when I saw that only half (or so) of cruisers liked Silver Galapagos. Then after sailing I realized that's because this ship is not for everyone. Those who have sailed with Silversea need to recognize this is not a typical ... Read More
Was worried when I saw that only half (or so) of cruisers liked Silver Galapagos. Then after sailing I realized that's because this ship is not for everyone. Those who have sailed with Silversea need to recognize this is not a typical SilverSea cruise. Its an expedition in every sense of the word. The expedition guides were amazing. They were patient with their guests and answered all our questions. They moved the groups along and ensured everyone was taken care of. They gently reminded people to remain within the trails and not get too close to the wildlife. This is a very active cruise - but they tell you the night before exactly what to expect for the following day so you can choose your adventure appropriately. The hikes can be very difficult to very easy - you choose. We took advantage of the more strenuous hikes on several occasions and really enjoyed them. They offered kayaking twice and we enjoyed it. Snorkeling was offered almost everyday - both from the beach and from a zodiac for deep water. Do the zodiac! You can read lots online about the Galapagos - so I won't go into too much detail. I'll focus on the cruise portion. The ship was beautiful. They really did a nice job with the renovations. Everything looked new and really couldn't find anything that looked worn. Our cabin (508) was a balcony and it was really nice. Our first thought was it was small - but as the week went on we changed out minds. It was plenty big. Especially as you are so busy you don't spend much time in your cabin. The bathroom had marble counters. There was no separate tub and bath but the shower was large enough with a glass wall. Amenities are 'eco-friendly' - sorry no Bulgari or Ferragamo. Cabin serviced twice a day. Our Butler was the best we've ever had (Alvaro). He made sure we had everything we needed. One night when I was not feeling well, he brought me soup without being asked. Food on the ship was good - not great. They are limited as to what they can get on the ship due to Ecuadorian regulations. Sounds like a scapegoat - but its true. That being said - local seafood was really, really great. Lobster or large prawns everyday at lunch. Dining room was very nice. Service was great. Not a very ornate menu - but always a choice of 3-4 starters and 3-4 mains. Desserts were a letdown. We ate at the the grill for dinner twice. Same experience as other Silversea cruises. For lunch each day we enjoyed the grill outdoors. Small buffet with salad and soup, order main course from a menu (great lobster & shrimp), and a dessert buffet. They offered a fresh ceviche each day. It was amazing. The only thing we can fault here is the pizza. It was the same everyday. It was good but the hawaiian pizza looked amazing like the cheese pizza each day. A lot has been said in previous reviews about the staff and their english skills. We found no issues at all. They did everything they could for you. If they didn't understand something, they would stick with it until they figured it out. The Ecuadorians are friendly people. They engaged in conversation. They ensured you had plenty to eat and drink. You can't expect the same level of service as on other Silversea ships where SS can hire from around the globe. There is a smaller hiring pool for this ship as they all need to be Ecuadorian - but again - could not find any fault with the staff on the ship. After being on the ship for about 2 hours, they referred to us by name and used our names throughout the cruise. They knew where we liked to sit, what we liked to drink, and what we ate the previous day. They were very engaged. If you are going to the Galapagos - this is the ONLY way to do it. We saw other boats and forms of accommodation. Nothing even comes close. Heard from folks who went on the Celebrity ship and they enjoyed it - but by all descriptions - not even close to the SilverSea experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
The Silver Galapagos takes 100 guests and was not full either week of our b2b cruise. Guests fly from either Quito or Guayaquil (Ecuador) on a LAN flight to Baltra, Galapagos which is a five minute coach ride to the tiny pier where zodiacs ... Read More
The Silver Galapagos takes 100 guests and was not full either week of our b2b cruise. Guests fly from either Quito or Guayaquil (Ecuador) on a LAN flight to Baltra, Galapagos which is a five minute coach ride to the tiny pier where zodiacs arrive to take you to the anchored ship in the bay. The officers and crew are by law Ecuadorian and the Naturalists are from the Galapagos, most of them live there so there knowledge is extensive. The cabins compare well to the ships in the main Silversea fleet and were renovated in September 2014. We were on deck 3 which is convenient for the Explorer Lounge (lecture theatre) from where all trips depart. The Main Dining Room is on deck 2, the bar on 4 and the open air grill deck 5. There is a tiny spa, gym and jacuzzi fore on deck 6. Our cabin had a large double bed, a sofa which converts to a bed if needed, a large desk with four electrical plugs, three wardrobes and plenty of drawers for clothes. There is a small fridge which is stocked with whatever you want. The shower room is tiny; about 6 foot by 3 foot and has a half width glass screen which makes keeping the water in the shower a challenge. There is one basin and lots of shelves and a washing line in the shower cubicle. Cabin 340 has three square windows and there is a walkway outside so when the crew are moving forward to the zodiac and kayak storage area curtains need closing. Passengers do not tend to use the walkway much. The food was generally excellent with plentiful fresh fish, lobster most days, excellent meat and a highlight for us was the ceviche (cold soup) at the deck grill at lunch time. We also ate at the grill some evenings when hot rocks are used and you cook your own meat or fish which are served with a baked potato and grilled vegetables. We were not so happy with the breakfast offerings which did not change day to day. Individual orders were taken for eggs and omelettes but the buffet was unexciting and the pastries poor. The bread baked on board was good. The crew are learning fast but often the language barrier led to poor service. We usually received what we wanted but sometimes it took a couple of times of asking. Silversea are working hard to sort this out and a long time Hotel Director has been on board for the past few months to improve staff training. Ecuadorian law only allows staff to be on board for a limited time (6 weeks I believe) before they have a short break. It is a very different system to other ships in the Silversea fleet and one management are adapting to. Generally the ship was a happy one but there is room for improvement. Zodiacs are used for every departure from the ship whether to visit the islands, snorkel, kayak or just go on a zodiac tour. The zodiac drivers and Naturalists made us feel very secure when getting on an off and safety is a priority. The visits were very interesting and we saw all we had hope to and more. Full wetsuits, flippers and snorkel masks are available on board and well organised aft on deck 3. The sights when snorkelling were amazing. We saw turtles, sealions, penguins and myriads of fish at very close quarters and to top it all a white tipped reef shark cruised by 12 feet below us one morning. There is a debrief and information session at 7 pm each evening which is very useful to attend. Disembarkation is by zodiac at 0930 and the flight back to Guayaquil and Quito leaves at about 1 pm. The luggage is taken from outside your cabin at 6 am and you do not need to see it again until your arrival in Ecuador which certainly makes life easy. We would recommend Silver Galapagos to anyone interested in visiting this extraordinary part of the World. It is a very active cruise with three or four included activities every day so a reasonable level of fitness is needed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
I loved my trip to the Galapagos Islands with Silversea. The ship was comfortable with excellent service, food was delicious (fresh ceviche everyday) and our guides were super knowledgeable and friendly. But most importantly, the wildlife ... Read More
I loved my trip to the Galapagos Islands with Silversea. The ship was comfortable with excellent service, food was delicious (fresh ceviche everyday) and our guides were super knowledgeable and friendly. But most importantly, the wildlife was incredible, curious and didn't mind our presence. To snorkel and kayak past sea turtles, penguins and sea lions is something I will never forget! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first expedition cruise and our first cruise with Silverseas. We have previously cruised with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Star Clippers. Our favourite (before this one) was the one with Star Clippers. Now ... Read More
This was our first expedition cruise and our first cruise with Silverseas. We have previously cruised with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Star Clippers. Our favourite (before this one) was the one with Star Clippers. Now it's a close run thing!! We have also enjoyed catamaran cruises on 5 -cabin catamarans with Tradewinds, so we do have a tendency to prefer the smaller ship experience. This cruise exceeded my expectations in most aspects. Embarkation was easy and exactly as described. We were met at the airport and taken by coach to the dock where we were issued with life-jackets and taken by zodiacs to the ship. There were minimal delays to this process as there were 4 zodiacs in total and each held about 16 passengers. On boarding the ship, we were greeted with a glass of sparkling wine/champagne and accompanied to our cabins. The cabin (514) was a veranda suite. Silversea call all their cabins 'suites' but in truth, they are much the same size as most other cruise ships we have been on. The exception was the Star Clipper where the cabin was definitely smaller. The Silver Galapagos cabin was possibly a bit wider at the point where the sofa was, and we both agreed that the cabin was the nicest that we had had, but I think it's a bit cheeky calling it a 'suite'. The cabin was extremely well equipped with backpacks and water bottles for both of us to use on the cruise and to keep afterwards, and a pair of binoculars to use on the cruise. The fridge was filled with beers and soft drinks and there were snacks on the side. These were replenished as and when they were used. Our first choice would have been one of the terraced suites (505 and 506) but these were both taken. With hindsight we were pleased about that. The terrace at the front of these is accessible to everyone and we went down and sat on it a couple of times when our balcony was shaded and a bit cool. I think that it was mainly the people in 505 and 506 that used the terrace and it WAS very nicely furnished, but I wouldn't have liked the idea that people could sit right outside my cabin, and in fact, it did seem to always be a bit too windy on that spot. We also considered the deluxe veranda suites as these weren't selling at a huge premium when we booked. I think they did have very slightly bigger balconies but we had the advantage of being on a higher deck with easy access to the front terrace and the grill bar, so we actually decided that we were very happy with our decision to stick with the standard veranda suite. If I was booking again and had the choice of ANY cabin, I'd opt for any of the veranda suites on the same side as we were. I liked our side of the ship because we often seemed to be looking at the sunsets but I don't know if the ship always ends up in the same spots. Maybe we were just lucky!! I LOVED having a balcony and we actually used it more than I thought we would on this trip - especially in the gap between excursions (usually between about 12 and 3.30 when the ship was moving) and then again when we came back from the 2nd excursion and just before the evening briefing and dinner. The food on the ship was very good, and better than I expected after reading about the inferior quality of meats in the Galapagos. Breakfast was a standard buffet, typical of what you would find in a large hotel. We usually ate lunch on the grill deck where there was a soup and salad buffet and a choice of various dishes cooked to order. There was ALWAYS lobster on the menu there and people seemed to love it though I'm not a big lobster fan. We did eat lunch once in the restaurant on Deck 2 and found that to also be very good with a wider choice than upstairs and it was again buffet style. We always ate dinner in the restaurant and never had a bad meal. Portions were not large but there were plenty of courses if you wished to have them and lots of people did! Apparently the stone grill on deck was quite fun but we didn't try it as we found it a bit cold on deck in the evenings. But we spoke to people who did and they said that the food was great. Possibly the worst thing about the ship was the service in the dining room and in the cabins. The staff were very friendly but really still need to get up to speed with providing the standard of service that people seem to expect on Silverseas. This didn't particularly bother us but there were often mistakes made. On the one and only time when we ordered room service, we asked for afternoon tea on our balcony. They serve afternoon tea in the piano bar and this consists of little sandwiches, pastries and cakes. Our tray arrived with a pot of hot water, 2 cups and a tea-bag!! Not even milk or sugar!! When I was disappointed the steward went off and came back with 2 sandwiches so I went down to the piano bar and got it myself! But if the dining staff were not up to scratch, the naturalist guides more than made up for them! They were excellent! We had been a bit concerned about going on one of the bigger ships in the Galapagos but we needn't have worried. Each guide is not allowed to take more than 16 people but Silverseas employ about 8 guides and we didn't ever go in a group with more than about 12 people. All of them seemed to be well qualified and were very knowledgeable and we didn't ever hear any complaints about any of them. In fact, we learned that one of the guides had even worked on a David Attenborough tv production. Our favourite was Juan Carlos who had been guiding for almost 40 years! The ship's crew also seemed to be very efficient and very friendly and helpful. On each day, there would be 2 stops and at each stop there was usually a choice of activity. Activities included nature treks, snorkeling, kayaking, glass bottom boat rides or zodiac excursions. On 3 of the stops there were minibuses to take people to, for example, the tortoise breeding centre. On 2 of the stops there were opportunities to do some shopping in the towns on San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. My husband's only complaint about the activities was they were not energetic enough! He is a bit of a fitness fanatic and he felt that he didn't get enough exercise on this holiday. It is true that they tended to exaggerate how strenuous the treks would be. In reality they were a bit of a dawdle as there is obviously a lot of stopping to look at things. There was only one fairly energetic hike but even that did not go far and was much shorter than they originally said. I guess they have to anticipate that some people will be a lot slower than on our particular cruise! We did enjoy the kayaking but that was only offered twice and was over-subscribed so difficult to get a place. To be fair to Silverseas, when they saw this they immediately organised another opportunity, but we would have liked even more of this. The nature treks were excellent and obviously the main focus of the cruise. However, I have to say that by the time we had got to the end of the week, we had seen enough boobies, marine iguanas and sea-lions!! Another example of the staff responding to our individual needs was when we stopped at San Cristobal, the advertised activity was a minibus visit to the tortoise breeding centre. I had already visited one of these as we spent a week in the islands before the cruise, so I asked if there would be much point in going on this excursion. The guide I spoke to advised that it probably wouldn't. However, she immediately suggested that we could join another couple on a trip to the Interpretation Centre. They were organising that for the other couple because they were on a back-to-back and would also have been repeating the visit. We were most impressed with this. Disembarkation was as efficient as embarkation. Bags had to be packed by 6 am and they were then taken to the airport and even checked in for us. We left the ship at around 9.30 for a 12.45 flight. We were issued with our boarding passes at the airport and then given use of a special VIP lounge where there were free refreshments. Really most impressive! To summarise, I think that Silverseas have done a great job with their cruise offering in the Galapagos. I would highly recommend them and would definitely consider more of their expeditions. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My husband enjoyed our amazing vacation on the expedition ship, Silver Galapagos. This was not a relaxing luxury vacation and we knew this when we planned our adventure. Adventure is the key experience we were seeking and an adventure was ... Read More
My husband enjoyed our amazing vacation on the expedition ship, Silver Galapagos. This was not a relaxing luxury vacation and we knew this when we planned our adventure. Adventure is the key experience we were seeking and an adventure was what we got. The ship was beautiful and the staff was very accommodating. Requests were met with the response "it would be my pleasure." and the request was granted promptly. I experienced no issue with communication. The crew spoke English much better than I speak Spanish. Each evening the expedition staff would conduct a briefing of the next days itinerary that included a thorough explanation and pictures of the trails we could hike and the wild life we would see. Most days an easy and a strenuous hike would be offered as well as deep water or beach snorkeling and kayaking. Snorkeling equipment included wet suites. Every day we saw a wide variety of birds, fish, amphibians as well as insects. The variety was amazing. We saw, tortoise, land and sea iguanas, sea lions,a huge variety of birds including the Blue/Red Footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Darwin's finches, mocking birds and the huge Waved Albatross. A memory I will never forget is snorkeling above a hammer head shark....Priceless!!! The expedition team kept us all safe and ensured that we did not violate rules that protect the fragile environment and wildlife. The cruise director Israel and Brad the naturalists insured that all guests were well informed and educated about all the Galapagos has to offer. They were very knowledgeable, personable and enthusiastic. All scheduled activities were punctual, organized and safe. The zodiac captains were well trained and skilled in maneuvering the boats with the currents and rocks as challenges in navigation. We visited two sights a day and by 7PM we could not keep our eyes opened but did not miss a delicious meals. I went to bed after dinner and my husband enjoyed listening and playing the piano with the piano player. The food was delicious, fresh and ample. Drinks are complimentary and there was a large selection. I enjoyed the passion fruit margarita. The ship was clean and our cabin was well maintained. The air-conditioner worked great. My husband likes it cold so I needed an extra blanket. The ship is now in dry dock for a face lift so I will not spend time on the cosmetics of the ship. I recommend this cruise to anyone wanting a true adventure. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Visiting the Galapagos was at the top of my bucket list, and this cruise was a dream come true. We got a chance to see all the wildlife we'd hoped for, plus more. The onboard naturalists did an excellent job of letting us know what to ... Read More
Visiting the Galapagos was at the top of my bucket list, and this cruise was a dream come true. We got a chance to see all the wildlife we'd hoped for, plus more. The onboard naturalists did an excellent job of letting us know what to expect and guiding us on our shore expeditions. The all-Ecuadorian staff provided gracious hospitality, especially Ramon, the maitre d' who seemed to be everywhere, making sure everyone had an excellent dining experience. The ship was small enough so that the staff all knew our names and preferences. I expected an older crowd, but there were a lot of young families on this cruise. To fully enjoy a voyage like this one, you must be fit; all shore excursions and even embarkation/disembarkation were by Zodiac. Landings ashore were sometimes in water or on rocky coastline. The Zodiac crew and expedition team did a great job of ensuring everyone's safety, despite some rough seas one day. The days were filled with activities, so there wasn't much time to enjoy onboard amenities like the gym and hot tub. We usually had hikes in the morning and afternoon, as well as optional snorkeling and kayaking. We visited three different turtle reserves and two small island towns. We also had several excellent lectures to enrich our experience. Silversea provided snorkeling gear, wet suits, and even binoculars! I understand that because of our location, the food was not the usual fare of Silversea. But we had the opportunity to try lots of local cuisine and South American wines, as well as excellent seafood. Lobster was on the menu every day, both at lunch and dinner! Overall, we had a fantastic experience, and I recommend it highly. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I read all of the reviews of this ship and i just don´t understand why the reviews aren´t higher than they are. The exhibition team was just fabulous. They were knowledgeable, patient, and really knew their stuff and made it fun, ... Read More
I read all of the reviews of this ship and i just don´t understand why the reviews aren´t higher than they are. The exhibition team was just fabulous. They were knowledgeable, patient, and really knew their stuff and made it fun, answering all questions along the way. There were lectures the day before so you knew what to expect and could choose the excursión level that suited you. All excursions are included in the Price, as is tip and liquor. Although we were with several different guides, I felt that each knew my name after the first day. All staff members made a huge effort to know each person´s name. Before the cruise, I filled out information about myself. When i arrived, there was a note in my cabin that the maitre di, Ramón, wanted to meet with me to discuss my dietary restrictions. I was so impressed. I do not like seafood and he came up to me at every buffet to let me know which ítems had seafood and when my chicken was on the grill, he made sure it wasn´t near any seafood. He was so attentive and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
EMBARKATION: best one we have ever experienced. Checked in with group. Person at Quito with luggage marked for Silversea. We did not have to deal withh our luggage again until it arrived at our cabins. Fantastic people and very organized ... Read More
EMBARKATION: best one we have ever experienced. Checked in with group. Person at Quito with luggage marked for Silversea. We did not have to deal withh our luggage again until it arrived at our cabins. Fantastic people and very organized at the airport. When we arrived in Baltra they had a awaiting area for us with juice and a couple of light snacks. Within 10 minutes the zodiacs came and transported us to the ship.. I give them an A+ In this category. CABINS: As has been reported before, the cabins are dark wood - no pictures or decoration. Layout of storage could be better, as drawer spaces are limited. Our first cabin was clean but had an odd closet set up in one of the closet. There is not much room to store luggage as the bed is on a platform. Our butler finally moved the couch and put our luggage behind it. Before that it was sitting in front of the couch. In some cabins that is not possible due to the room configuration. However, there is plenty of space to move around. The cabin was very serviceable until we started. When the ship rolled we began to have constant rattles and creaks that lasted all night. We ended up moving to another a cabin that was available after an attempt was made to correct the problem. Thank goodness for that. Natalia was excellent to work with in trying to resolve the issue and checked after to make sure everything was okay. Her service was excellent. FOOD & BEVERAGE: I know this is a very subjective subject. First I will state a fact or two.. The bars do not have a number of labels that my DH and I would expect from a luxury line. Our first night I requested an Irish Whiskey - don't have it. Next I asked for Glenlivet scotch - same answer. So I settled for a Manhattan. And they made it with Jack Daniels- only whiskey they had. Not my preference, but I survived. Others commented on the limited bar, so I am not alone. Shouldn't a luxury line have a better stocked bar? The main DR serves all 3 meals and is only option for breakfast ,unless you do room service( which is risky) It is buffet style for breakfast and lunch and sit down for dinner. Breakfast is the same everyday and you can order eggs any way you want. Dinner menu has 4 entrees in the evening. Always fish and vegetarian plus a meat and usually a pasta or similar. Sometimes not cooked, and sometimes overlooked. On 5th floor is the Grill (outside) that serves lunch with rotating menu and dinner with hot rocks cooking at your table. However, the dinner menu does not change, nor do the vegetables served with your entree. We enjoyed going up for lunch. As far as bread is concerned, in both venues there are only 2 bread choices, dark or white rolls for lunch and dinner; I should consider this a positive since it eliminates calories I don't need! At breakfast there were a number of bread options. We found the food in the main dining room very inconsistent. SERVICE: This is the area where Silversea really falls down. I know there are strict requirements as to hiring and length of service for staff. From talking to some senior staff, they are constantly dealing with turnover and language barriers. However, considering Silversea promotes themselves as luxury and prices the product accordingly, something needs to be done. We had calibrated our expectations based on previous reviews. I did not calibrate mine low enough, as I had expected some of the earlier problems from last year to have been corrected. When our "butler" introduced himself he told us it was his first day on the job; it became very evident. We asked for ice and a wash cloth (We learned they do NOT put washcloths in the bathroom unless you ask. That is not the markings of a luxury cruise line!) That evening we still did not have either and had to ask again. We continued to get a wash cloth, but had to ask for ice every day.. This was repeated when we moved to our new cabin. Our mini bar did not get restocked, and in fact, things would dissappear from it! We had to ask if we wanted a beverage replaced. Another example, and illustrative of the language issue: In the dining room I asked to order a drink and received a deer in the headlights look. I said a cocktail and got a more perplexed look so I made a drinking motion and got a nod. Then I asked for a Chivas Regal, which is what I had in the 4th floor lounge. The gentleman repeated what I said and left the table. He then disappeared and never returned! After what was over 5 minutes another waiter approached our table and we made a request for drinks, with a similar look and he disappeared to the back to talk to someone. After at least another 5 minutes the 4 of us were fustrated and just left and went up to The Grill to eat. I could list other examples, but I think the point is made. We also had issues with orders not being delivered, i.e. salads and the the entree coming. All the staff was very friendly and you could tell they were trying and I am sure just as frustrated as we were. EXCURSIONS: Outstanding! The Zodiac pilots were great and very concerned about our safety and helpful in getting us on and off. The naturalists are outstanding and have a broad backgrounds. We were fortunate to experience a number of them. They each brought their own unique way of sharing the islands and love of nature. They enrich what you are seeing. Words and even pictures can't do the Gallapagos justice. There was a morning excursion and an afternoon one each day. If there was an area that was very rugged, there was usually a less rugged alternate excursion for those who could not do a lot of big boulder climbing. Unfortunately, I could not snorkel, but those who did (often both morning and afternoon) had a fantastic time. Everything was well planned and we were briefed at 7pm every day as to what to expect the next day. ENTERTAINMENT: Except for a piano player in the lounge, there really isn't any (well, some passengers were pretty entertaining). But, after such a busy day I wasn't ready to stay up for a late show! OVERALL: I rate the Galapagos Islands a 10. We did the eastern and northern islands and have talked about going back some day to experience the western islands. We can't speak highly enough of the excursions staff and the naturalists. Where signficant improve is needed is with Silversea. If they want to charge for and advertise this as a luxury experience, then it needs to be. Yes, drydock can take care of cosmetic issues with cabins, carpets etc., but those are minor compared to service issues. We do not regret taking the trip as the memories we have of the islands overshadow any problems we had. But, we do feel for the cost, Silversea needs to find a way to fix the service issue or lower the cost and not advertise this particular cruise as luxury. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Wow, I disagree with a lot of the review below. We had a spectacular time and thought the service was first rate. The waiters were very responsive and polite - super professional. Juanito, one of our room stewards, made wonderful ... Read More
Wow, I disagree with a lot of the review below. We had a spectacular time and thought the service was first rate. The waiters were very responsive and polite - super professional. Juanito, one of our room stewards, made wonderful "towel animals" for us every day. Our room was kept tidy (even our clothes were folded for us) and clean. Every member of the staff was great and went above and beyond. We've traveled on Silversea once before, and the service on Silver Galapagos was as good as on Silver Spirit. We were surprised at how much we enjoyed the food, given the terrible prior reviews. We enjoyed our meals - plenty of selection and very good quality. If you're looking for Michelin-rated dining, then don't go to the Galapagos. But we thought the food was really good. The pastry chef made delicious cookies and crème caramel, along with other great desserts. We didn't care that much about what liquors were available, but I do see what the prior reviewer means. This is an expensive trip and one might have expected upgraded liquors. But it didn't impact us. I was happy with Bailey's Irish Cream and vodka with cranberry juice. The expeditions were all outstanding and every single guide was an expert. It was incredible - they knew every flower, bird, animal, and tree. There were no questions left unanswered. And we swam with turtles and sea lions. It was magical. Incidentally, the staff was excellent when it came to ensuring everyone's safety. Absolutely excellent! We were on many of Fernando's tours, and he was fantastic (as was Jorge, Xavier, and all the rest). Ivan's photography was great. It's true that the ship could use a face lift. That's the one part that is not up to Silversea's standards, especially considering the price. But our room was still lovely (although if you look closely, you can definitely tell that it's seen better days - paint peeling, terrace balcony not varnished, etc.). But I have no qualms about recommending this trip. It was fantastic, and Silversea has clearly been working very hard to fix most of the prior problems. We had such a good time, we didn't want to come home. Ok, I do admit that Silversea really needs to do something about the elevator situation. There was one small elevator that was operated by a hamster running around in a wheel. I don't deny that there were times when I was so tired I would have liked to use an elevator rather than climb 4 flights of stairs. Despite the elevator, it was a wonderful trip and I highly recommend it. Incidentally, we were supposed to go on Celebrity's Galapagos trip last year, but it was cancelled due to Lobster-gate. When Celebrity cancelled a week before our trip, we scrambled to book another trip and ended up on Silver Spirit in the Mediterranean. It was so awesome that we ultimately booked Silver Galapagos instead of Celebrity for our Galapagos trip. For anyone thinking about going on the Celebrity trip, please note that Celebrity, as compensation, sent us coupons for 25% off any Celebrity cruise. Five weeks later, they rescinded the coupons and sent us new coupons for 25% off ONLY the Galapagos trip. That trip was booked so far out and was totally booked during any times we could go, that the coupons were rendered useless (and had a 2 year time limit). We're done with Celebrity (not because they cancelled, but because of the way they handled the aftermath), and Silversea is the beneficiary of our future cruises. In fairness to Celebrity, however, a friend went on Celebrity in February and had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We sailed out of Baltra on the Silver Galapagos for the 7 night Western Itinerary on May 31 to June 7. Our hotel stay at the Marriott prior to the cruise was great, transfers and flights from Quito went smoothly. Silverseas staff was ... Read More
We sailed out of Baltra on the Silver Galapagos for the 7 night Western Itinerary on May 31 to June 7. Our hotel stay at the Marriott prior to the cruise was great, transfers and flights from Quito went smoothly. Silverseas staff was gracious and efficient in handling our luggage and getting us where we needed to be. The Silver Galapagos is an older ship that has been partially updated by Silverseas. There are parts of the ship that retain some of the charm of older boats ( glossy wood paneling, varnished decks and mirrored dressing tables) and other areas that have been refurbished (bathrooms, dining area, jacuzzi and spa) but the pipes are old (hence the banging and clanging behind our walls when the jacuzzi on the deck above was heating up) and the shower took half an hour to drain after use. Bed was very comfortable, with lovely high quality linens, and there is plenty of storage in the cabin. Our cabin, #506, was just inside from a large deck with sofas at the bow of the boat, and surprisingly no one else used it but us and our friends. One night we sat out there and watched the most spectacular display of stars that we had ever seen. The butler service that Silversea promises was spotty and unreliable in our cabin. We hardly saw the room staff, and they did not respond to phone calls when we wanted to order some drinks or food. It seemed that they had lots of other duties on board, as we would see them around the ship and dining area. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day and fresh towels were abundant, but we rarely saw them in person. Our friends on deck 4 had a better experience, and when one of them was sick for a couple of days ( not sure what he ate) the butler was solicitous and brought the patient tea and toast. Food in the dining room was quite good, nicely presented and with great variety at lunch and dinner. Breakfast was buffet style, plentiful, fresh, and pretty much the same every day. The evening dining service was unreliable, with language issues being part of the problem, and obvious inexperience on the part of the wait staff. That said, the staff was always friendly and welcoming, and were clearly working very hard. We felt that they just hadn't been doing this very long and needed more training around anticipating the needs of the diners and knowing how to provide good service. The South American wines that were served each night were quite good, and we never felt the need to ask for a full wine list. Cocktails could also be ordered at dinner. We were disappointed that there was no ice cream for the entire cruise. Not sure what happened but it seemed that there was a delivery problem. Loved the Galapagos lobster! In general the hotel aspects of the cruise were fair to good, but inconsistent. We felt that better supervision was needed in both the cabins and the dining room. This was our first Silversea cruise, so we have nothing to compare it to but other cruise lines, but we understand that they take pride in their service. I don't think this was up to par. That said, we were very pleased with the Naturalist guides, boat staff and all the excursions out to the islands. The guides were all incredibly knowledgeable, many of them with advanced degrees in marine biology and environmental studies, and on top of that they were personable, warm and engaging. We went in small groups, and never felt crowded on our walks about the area. In fact we rarely saw people from other boats, which led us to believe that the itinerary is carefully planned for providing the guests with the best possible experience. Snorkeling trips were fantastic, but not enough of them. Deep water snorkeling was challenging, as the waters are rough, but for us it was some of the best ever. Seeing a 15 foot whale shark emerge just below us was a thrill of a lifetime. Disembarkation was unremarkable. It's never fun to leave a ship after a great week of vacation with friends. There's always a lot of waiting around, and you could tell that the staff was focused on getting ready for the new guests, but that's always the way on a cruise ship. Transfers to the airport were smooth, and Silversea staff was there to assist us right up to departure back to the mainland. The love and respect that the local guides have for the islands is obvious, and one could not help but feel the same way after seeing the amazing wildlife, plants and sea creatures that are living in peace and harmony on the islands. This is a place in the world that everyone should see! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Overall, our Galapagos vacation was unforgettable - definitely a "MUST DO" experience. My review focuses on Silversea's claim to offer an ultra-luxury version of the Galapagos on its "new" ship, the Silver. The ... Read More
Overall, our Galapagos vacation was unforgettable - definitely a "MUST DO" experience. My review focuses on Silversea's claim to offer an ultra-luxury version of the Galapagos on its "new" ship, the Silver. The Silver welcomes you to your cabin with an apology letter. This emphasizes that Silversea usually employs Filipinos, but is required by the Galapagos National Park to hire only Ecuadorians. Does Silversea believe Ecuadoreans are inferior to Filipinos? In order to provide its expected level of service, couldn't Silversea pay higher wages for an Ecuadorean crew that's better experienced and fluent in English? The Silver’s service staff was friendly and tried very hard, but only a few were capable of delivering the promised excellence. The letter also explained that they're prohibited from importing certain fruits and meats into the Galapagos. Fine, but that's not an excuse for the mediocre quality fruit, nor the (sometimes) frozen seafood we were served. Otherwise, the food was very good, and we enjoyed having a choice between the lively outdoor grill and the calm, cool restaurant. I don't usually don't like buffets, but the restaurant lunches were excellent. The ship itself has been very well re-designed. Common areas are comfortable and inviting. Cabins are spacious (but only by Galapagos standards), although the A/C was sometimes insufficient, and suites are poorly configured for an expedition cruise (lots of closet space, but not enough shelves). Our itinerary was extremely well planned: excursions early in the morning and later in the afternoon, with free time in between. Naturalist guides are trained by the Galapagos National park, so they’re excellent whether your cruise is luxurious or basic. They’re also limited by law to 16 guests per guide, so Silversea doesn’t offer anything special when it comes to staffing excursions. As I stated in the beginning, we loved our trip to the Galapagos. I believe my review of Silversea might have been more positive, except for our disappointing last experience. Silversea did a flawless job at arrival, with transfers, hotels, tricky Galapagos customs and baggage. But on disembarkation, they completely dropped the ball. We were evicted from our staterooms at 7:30 am to prepare for incoming passengers. Silversea’s original itinerary promised a morning departure for the mainland, but instead we had to wait in the sweltering Baltra airport for a 1 pm flight. Then Siversea charged us for transfers and a day hotel room in Guayaqil, where we ended up having less down-time than in Baltra. Where was the attention to detail that had enticed me to book this (my first) Silversea cruise? While I will always treasure this Galapagos experience, I'm not sure that I can recommend paying a premium for the somewhat flawed luxury of Silversea. To Silversea: please stop apologizing, and fix the bugs. If you can’t deliver on your promised level of quality here, why should passengers trust you on trips elsewhere?   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have just returned from the Silver Galapagos North Central itinerary. Here is our review: Overall experience: The overall experience of these islands was outstanding! Definitely one of our top 5 trips. It is a rare experience to visit ... Read More
We have just returned from the Silver Galapagos North Central itinerary. Here is our review: Overall experience: The overall experience of these islands was outstanding! Definitely one of our top 5 trips. It is a rare experience to visit islands where the wildlife is completely unafraid and even inquisitive of you as you embark onto their land. I am not really a cruise person either (I don't like to feel "stuck" or "cooped up"), but I don't see how we could have done this trip any other way. It was very convenient to be on a ship as we visited two islands per day most days. The naturalists are very knowledgeable. We saw all kinds of wildlife closer than I ever thought we could get to them. We could have touched them, but of course that is not allowed. We saw giant tortoises, sealions, iguanas, lizards, boobies, frigates, finches, mocking birds, a penguin, sea turtles, sharks, rays, ..all kinds of fish. The SIlver Galapagos: Atmosphere: The ship is older and definitely needs some repairs, but still has a luxurious flare. We have not been on many cruise lines so I am not able to compare except to Oceania Regatta. The rooms/suites were definitely suites...big and spacious for a ship with vanity, lots of counter space, sofa, flat screen tv. The bathroom was bigger than what we've experienced with a big enough shower...twice as big as Oceania. All this space and we had a basic room. However, I heard some people complaining about their room...that it was smaller than they were expecting after being on Silver Spirit. They were in an upgraded room as well. The décor is contemporary and clean. There is no pool, just a hot tub, but you will have no time for swimming except at the destination sites. The spa is very small and so is the fitness centre. Naturalists: The naturalists, for the most part are very friendly and knowledgeable. We really enjoyed Xavier Suarez and Carlos Gonzales. Xavier was a good story teller and very entertaining, which is very refreshing after 5 days of trekking and early morning wake up calls. We also really enjoyed Carlos. He is very easy going and knowledgeable as well. We did not feel rushed at any of the sites we saw with him and felt that he made sure we got the most out of the island visit. Gaby Espinoza was very organized and made sure we were aware of the itinerary and plans for the day. She gave us 15 minutes notice before each excursion which was enough time to throw on some clothes, shoes and hat after your afternoon nap. Food: The staff/chef here tried their very best. They went out of their way to get you what you wanted. They were very good about my dietary restrictions and made special dishes for me each meal. The Maitre D' Marcos made sure to talk to me before we sailed about the meals and where to find food I could eat. Marcos the chef, was always aware of my restrictions and went out of his way to accommodate me. After being on Oceania Regatta, it is hard for me to review the food. It was very basic compared to Oceania, but you could get lobster every day if you wanted to at the grill upstairs which is outdoors. I really enjoyed sitting upstairs, but the food downstairs at "The Restaurant" was a lot better and with more variety. The grill menu never changed. This is something I would want them to fix for next time. We need variety in the menu. Also dinner is not til late 7:30pm but you can get room service if you are hungry before that. The menu is limited but the butler, Natalia will go out of her way to get you what you want. Service: Service on the ship could be better. Although, the staff really tries their very best. They just need the training in order to get to that luxury 5 star level. You can tell at dinner that they really want to make you happy, but not sure how to do that. Natalia the butler is very good. She is fast, professional and goes above and beyond the call of duty. The cons: Ok, so I was expecting luxury service as we have travelled with A&K before and my itinerary said that this was the company to be handling our transfers. When we arrived at the Quito airport, there was no one holding a sign with our names. Luckily, I had spotted a lady with a silversea tag on her bag and I followed her to the group. When we got to the group, the agent said "Are you with us?" I said "yes" ..already getting aggravated as we had a very long trip and I was tired and hungry (not a good combination). She said, "you're supposed to be on the flight 2 hours later"....I said "no, we're here now"...."she said well, I have you down here......." I cut her off and said "It doesn't matter what the mistake is, I'm here now and I'm ready to go to the hotel. I'm very tired". She said I would have to wait two hours for the next group. I said, "Absolutely not. I am not waiting. Put me in a cab and send me to the hotel" She said she couldn't do that. My husband told me to calm down. I think I was about to explode and maybe she saw it in my face...she said ok, let me see what I can do....20 min later, she found another guide and sent us on our way. The problem was resolved in a reasonable amount of time, but could have been handled better. Getting through customs and waiting in the airport was a big mess. We were used to being whisked through the gates and customs and being guided every step of the way with A&K, but our guide a the airport, Antonio was nowhere to be seen. If I had questions, there would have been no one to ask because the gate agents did not speak English, and sadly, I do not speak Spanish. I had gone online and preordered a therapeutic pillow and a double down around medium pillow for my cervical issues. When I got to the room, they weren't there. Natalia got them right away. But, for 5 star luxury, I think it should have been there when I got to the room. We got two twin beds, Natalia had to come in again and push the beds together to make it a king. There was a half empty bottle of diet coke in my fridge...that is disgusting...that tells me the fridge was not cleaned out before we got there. The room was muggy and hot when we arrived. The air should have been turned on and the room cooled down to a comfortable temperature before boarding. The chocolates delivered to the room as turn down service were old..they had a white film over them. I love seafood, but stopped eating fish at the grill upstairs because I ordered sole one day and it did not look very appetizing...it was brown around the edges and tasted like it was in the freezer for years. It was very fishy. I sent it back. I was afraid to eat fish after that. But downstairs at the restaurant, the fish was very fresh. The Maitre D' had almond milk ready for me at all the bars ...I ordered a cappuccino with almond milk every day....I think 50% of the time it was actually almond milk. It tasted like cow's milk half of the time. Despite all these negatives, I would still use Silversea for the Galapagos as the ship was very comfortable and I think that in time, the staff will improve. Silversea is a good brand of cruise line and I'm sure they will fix these minor issues on board the silver Galapagos.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Just returned from a week in the Galapogas and we think it was probably 4 or 5 days to long. We are pretty seasoned travelers with about 200 cruises under our belts and a number of land trips also. This destination was on our bucket list ... Read More
Just returned from a week in the Galapogas and we think it was probably 4 or 5 days to long. We are pretty seasoned travelers with about 200 cruises under our belts and a number of land trips also. This destination was on our bucket list because we had heard from other travelers it was a must now that we gone it's not for us because there isn't much to do or see that is exceptional and day after day is pretty repetitive . Different birds, turtles,iguanas, sea lions and less than stellar snorkeling On to our accommodations, Silver Sea new Silver Galapogas, what a disappointment . On arrival from a zodiac a patched and dented hull, railings not varnished,18 steps to climb on and off daily. The carpet was a poor choice of color gray beige, looked dirty always room not. Bad. But bathroom floor buckling. Food poor, lunch up in the grill the best to offer, service. Not up to their standard, food and silverware taken away and next course but no silverware with it. No premium liquor, no non alcoholic beer. Lack of communication . Was served root beer for non alcoholic., asked for hot tea water and was given cold bottle water, asked for tomatoes on my salad and was given potatoes on a salad. Coffee in suite almost always cold even when we wrote HOT coffee. Friends of ours had a distressing problem when snorkeling and we're treated Nonchalant about it. I could go on an on but I would not recommend Silver Galapogas if you are going.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
First, Silversea is terrible. This ship is very old and it shows. Our toilet did not flush off and on and the shower backed-up. The staff do not speak English although they try very hard to serve you. We did not get anything we ordered the ... Read More
First, Silversea is terrible. This ship is very old and it shows. Our toilet did not flush off and on and the shower backed-up. The staff do not speak English although they try very hard to serve you. We did not get anything we ordered the entire trip at any meal, but finally just ate what was on the plate. The Silversea management staff are non-existent and when around clearly do not understand English either. We traveled with another couple and were not seated with them on any transportation even though Silversea arranged it as a foursome. There is nothing luxury about this cruise which is what you are supposedly paying upwards of $20,000 per couple for. Second, the Galapagos is awesome. Ecuador requires their national park staff to lead all tours on all ships so their staff was on board all week. The quides are super and are really the only people you will interact with other than passengers. The wildlife here and geography is beyond description and worth a trip. However I would not recommend doing this with Silversea. Its a waste of alot of money because you can get an equal or better trip on other ships. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
After a week on the Silver Galapagos I’ve hours to spend travelling so might as well write a review. Overall the visit to the Galapagos was fantastic and most of the Silverseas Experience was also very good. So let’s start with the ... Read More
After a week on the Silver Galapagos I’ve hours to spend travelling so might as well write a review. Overall the visit to the Galapagos was fantastic and most of the Silverseas Experience was also very good. So let’s start with the not so good which has mainly been the last couple of days of the cruise. Friday’s tour on land seemed designed to suit the needs of the crew to get us off the ship for as long as possible. We were off the ship at 8am to visit the tortoises and that could easily have been completed and back on board for lunch, instead we were supplied the worst meal of the week at a local restaurant and were not given the option to return to the ship until 4pm (although they eventually grudgling agreed to do so at 2.30). Now we’re on Saturday, so its out of your cabin by 7.30a.m sit around on the ship until 9.30pm for the short bus journey to the airport to wait another nearly 3 hours for the flight. Surely something could have been organised to make good use of this 5 hours of time while still in the Galapagos? We booked the mainland/Galapagos flights through Silverseas and also a day room at a Guayaquil hotel for today. However, they didn't notify us until yesterday that the flight times had changed so we arrived in Guayaquil only just over 4 hours before our home flight, so there was no point in transferring to the day room (that we have paid for!) and we have instead stayed at the airport Anyway, back to the beginning of the week Arrivals in to Quito Airport, on to the hotel and then back to the airport (5.30am start) were all well organised. In between we enjoyed a fantastic full day tour of Quito/Equator organised by the Silverseas local agent(booked at the hotel on arrival). A beautiful city and well worth a stop-over. On arrival to Baltra airport the move to the Silver Galapagos was short and quick and at the harbour we got to see the first Sea Lions. Lunch was served as soon as we arrived on board. In the afternoon there was a welcome lecture with introductions to all the Naturalists and other crew members. This was combined with the safety procedures, which did make it a bit of an over long session. Activities Every day was an early start with 8 am disembarkations considered a luxury lie in. Some days there was a gap after lunch for those who needed a nap but on others it was a busy morning and afternoon. The activities were Zodiac(inflatable tours), kayaking, beach and deep sea snorkelling and walks. On some days we did all of them! What we saw on land and in the water was amazing and what makes the cost of this holiday experience worthwhile. Up close, Iguanas, Tortoises, Turtles, Sealions, Sharks and so many different birds and fish. We even got to see an Orca from just a few metres away. Food The food on board was very good most of the time. The service was often slow and glasses including water stood empty even after asking for a refill. For wine drinkers there was a good selection of South American wines and for the beer drinkers there was at least a red and black alternative to the bland lager. There was an extensive range of cocktails etc. The outside Grill restaurant served an excellent range of mainly fish/prawns/lobster at lunch and could accommodate about half of the passengers so across the week we got there early enough on several days to eat there. In the evening is was necessary to book, which we did but by the third time the unchanging “hot rocks” menu while good was becoming a bit repetitive. The main restaurant provided an excellent wide ranging buffet breakfast. The buffet lunch was also good. Dinner menus had many courses and much variety through the week. Occasionally the food was overcooked. The Ship, Cabins and Service The Silver Galapagos has a good number of public spaces inside and outside and surprisingly good unlimited wifi access for $140 for the week. (Unlikely the unusably slow access at Baltra airport) We were in a deluxe verandah cabin which was big enough with a small seating area and we took the tip from other reviewers to put a case at the bottom of each wardrobe. The air conditioning was good enough providing that we kept the curtains closed. The shower was good, even if much of the water ended up on the floor! There was a large flat screen TV which we never switched on as we were too busy or too tired! We also never used the spa or fitness centre for the same reasons. The cabin service was OK but was often in response to requests rather than being pre-empted. Silver Galapagos still has room for improvements but I would recommend this trip as an excellent way to experience the Galapagos Islands.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our 6th journey on Silversea and although we expected an 'expedition' type vacation, we were disappointed with the quality of the ship and the service. We did expect more from this stellar company. The 25 year old vessel badly ... Read More
Our 6th journey on Silversea and although we expected an 'expedition' type vacation, we were disappointed with the quality of the ship and the service. We did expect more from this stellar company. The 25 year old vessel badly needs to go into dry dock for a good overhaul. Throughout the voyage washrooms were unavailable and locked in public areas, with a smell emanating from them, air conditioning was almost non-existent, particularly in the restaurant, and the furnishings were worn and tired and in disrepair. Our cabin, a veranda suite was comfortable, although there was no space provided for our bags. I traveled with my husband and we only brought one suitcase each, but no room for them under the bed. It took 6 days to get a light bulb replaced and the emergency light did not go on when there was a brief power failure. The food was very poor. We understand that getting fresh food in Ecuador is difficult, although bananas, a staple there, were also very tired. I can find fresher at home. The restaurant where we were advised to wear 5 star resort clothing, no jeans, was hot and uncomfortable, and the food often inedible and certainly uninspired. The other eating venue outside had to be booked by reservation, although Silversea stresses that their ships are open seating. There were unused tables, but I believe there just wasn't enough staff to service this area, nor the 'hot rock' grills to go around. The reason we went on this cruse was to visit the Galapagos in comfort. The expedition staff led by Danny was first rate. The various trips we took were excellent and enjoyable. The enthusiastic guides like Xavier and Tommy were a delight. The wildlife and scenery incredible. We met many wonderful passengers who also were disappointed in the ship, service, and food and they expressed that this was their first and last Silversea voyage. We have trusted the brand over the many years we have been traveling with them, but no longer. We paid top dollar for what we had expected to be at the very least an excellent, well run ship in good repair with delicious food. We did not get this. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I am writing this as we pull into the harbor at Baltra, after a glorious week traveling 435 miles around the Galapagos aboard Silver Galapagos. We came to the Galapagos to see pristine beaches and exotic wildlife, to snorkel and kayak, to ... Read More
I am writing this as we pull into the harbor at Baltra, after a glorious week traveling 435 miles around the Galapagos aboard Silver Galapagos. We came to the Galapagos to see pristine beaches and exotic wildlife, to snorkel and kayak, to soak up the sun, to dine outside in warm breezes, and to have guides and crew who knew what they were doing, who kept us safe and who were uncommonly nice. We also came for a curated itinerary that would expose us to the best of the Galapagos, and give us a taste of history and science along the way. We got what we came for! Silversea gave us a wonderful week. The expedition staff, especially its leader Danny, was truly top notch. Their skill made all the difference. It is hard to imagine a higher degree of luxury or personal service onboard or on shore, especially given where we were. Yes, the ship is old and the facilities limited compared to cruise ships, but this is an expedition ship that allows travel into remote coves and adjacent to isolated beaches. An upcoming dry dock holds promise that the physical plant will improve. But compared to the expedition ships we viewed in a couple of harbors along the way, this is far and away the most luxurious option. In terms of personal service -- which truly determines the degree of luxury -- it was the best we have had on a cruise anywhere. Each of us celebrated birthdays onboard, and our butler and cabin attendants made them very special indeed. The spa professional was the sweetest AND most capable masseuse, pedicurist, etc. The maitre d' took care of us like he worked only for us, especially in ensuring vegetarian options. He even allowed us to use the restaurant menu at the outdoor grill for dinner, which provided greater choice. For meals, the quality of the ingredients was always good, with unlimited native lobster, prawns and exotic fruits. You don't go on an expedition ship for soufflés and cherries jubilee; we ate plenty, and we ate well. We opted for the top category suite, and because of the small size of the ship, it turned out to be the smallest cabin (much less smallest suite) we every have had on any ship. No matter. It was efficiently laid out. The bed was very comfortable. And the bathroom was fine. So we had a week of adventures, were cared for beautifully, slept well and ate well. Can't ask for much more from a cruise. I recommend the Silver Galapagos enthusiastically. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We have travelled on Silversea ships on 5 previous cruises, and they have been just marvelous. So we chose that company again to visit the Galapagos, departing Baltra for 7 days in the West Islands. We were expecting that the same ... Read More
We have travelled on Silversea ships on 5 previous cruises, and they have been just marvelous. So we chose that company again to visit the Galapagos, departing Baltra for 7 days in the West Islands. We were expecting that the same standards of excellence would apply to this Expedition ship, even if less luxe. And the marketing materials from the company confirmed the expectation. We were mislead. Unforgivably. THE GOOD: the locale and the excellent expedition leaders, filled with enthusiasm and knowledge, fluent in English, and all guiding for many years. The islands offer a variety of terrain and wildlife, and the hiking, snorkeling, and Zodiac tours are just SO GOOD. Even a little spelunking in a lava tube. Animals and birds with no fearful reaction to people are as approachable as legend has it. It's so amazing, and worthy of everyone's bucket list. THE BAD: The ship. It's an older one, perhaps 25 years, but in poor repair. For example, the air conditioning is inadequate; the dining room was stifling, the bathrooms were a common source of passenger grumbling, and the engineering staff seems incapable of making repairs quickly, or even at all. But it does have nice layout for the Veranda suites, - although they are small, they are more attractive and efficient than the Owner's Suite, with two big faults: the shower produces so much humidity that every mirror in the cabin mists up, - even though the bathrooms were allegedly renovated, and there is so little storage that passengers were cautioned not to hang clothes from the overhead sprinklers. Really! Although they replaced the beds, they didn't include the under bed suitcase storage standard on the larger ships. THE TRULY UGLY: the FOOD and the HOTEL MANAGEMENT. If I were to buy this company today, the Chef and the Hotel Manager would be looking for a new job tomorrow. The food varied from not bad to just inedible. Scrambled eggs that make hospital food look good, waiters that simply can't deliver a complete order at the same time. The cook hasn't even mastered the fried egg. Although the restaurants (there are only two) advertised as 'open seating with no reservations required' the 5th deck grill, which offers food you cook at your table on hot rock slabs, has only enough of these it would seem to enable them to set up half the tables. The alternative, the overheated dining room. But although it's easier to find a table outdoors for lunch, the pizza is the only very good and reliable choice. I had a hamburger, - represented as ground filet, that was late, overcooked (MR is not dark grey), and stringy. Not one of the six at our table finished theirs. You can walk into the bar, and find it, and all the others, closed, - or if open, you have to summon the waiter (they have not been trained to watch for and approach a new arrival) they are willing, but untrained and unresponsive. Breakfast was discontinued at 08:25, even though early expedition passengers were returning and looking for the breakfast they missed. This is in such stark contrast to all the other voyages, where food and drink is excellent in preparation, presentation and service, and all but available 24 hours a day, - somewhere. I don't think I met a satisfied passenger. Everyone was grumbling. We felt deceived by the misrepresentation of the cruise as 5 star luxe . The Silversea Line has done itself a huge disservice launching this expansion, which is certainly not ready for prime time, before they have renovated the ship and trained the staff to the standards their brand connotes. One of our fellow passengers, - a travel agent, is vowing that she will never again sell Sliversea, - and she had previously been a big supporter. I am disappointed in the ship and food, and somewhat angry at the misrepresentation, and although we were among the most frequent travelers recognized at their Venetian Society reception, we have made our last trip with Silversea. So I am sad too. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
The Silver Galapagos is a sad old vessel fit only for low budget travellers or the breakers. Neither it nor the service and quality on it lived up to any of Silversea’s descriptions. To avoid serious disappointment do not consider ... Read More
The Silver Galapagos is a sad old vessel fit only for low budget travellers or the breakers. Neither it nor the service and quality on it lived up to any of Silversea’s descriptions. To avoid serious disappointment do not consider sailing on it. If you are now contractually committed to sailing you must put the Company on notice that unless you receive the level of accommodation and on board service that is so outrageously over hyped in its sales literature you will be seeking a substantial cash refund. Our sailing did not have a full complement of guests. What it would be like with 100 passengers does not bear thinking about. As others have mentioned the suites were really only cabins with nowhere to put the cases. The shower cubicle was a tight fit, towels and flimsy robe got damp just for being in there for the duration a shower. Toiletries were sparse not even a shower cap. As these are normally provided everywhere now my wife cuts down on packing by no loading up the case with these any more. After asking one shower cap was provided for the duration. The balcony was very narrow. I acknowledge it was a comparatively small ship but very little thought had gone into the supposed overhaul of this ship and the minimum necessary done.. The Vista windows in other cabins we went in were something of a misnomer as they were three narrow windows of less than half length. Worse still curtains had to be kept closed in these at all times as the walkway went round them and people congregated. Again as others have mentioned the butler was really just a steward and no unpacking or packing was carried out or offered and we saw little of him on the first day. I am sure he was busy but it was not the service that was promised “on a ship that brought luxury to the Galapagos” at last. Forgive the pun but the waiting staff were all at sea and, for the most part, appeared not to have had any training. The main restaurant is long and narrow and the food inconsistent. Fine wines were promised but if one asked for them they were very begrudgingly given and then only the tiniest amount not even a standard 125ml.. Some of the higher Silversea staff admitted they knew they needed to do much more and they were still in a development phase – not acceptable when are paying the full dollar for a luxury trip. In case you are unaware all the itineraries and expeditions are organised and delivered by the GI National Park guides. That means whatever boat you go on your experience in this respect will be much the same. As seeing the Galapagos Islands and their wildlife is the reason for going on this trip you might as well save your money and disappointment and go on a less expensive, but probably better run established ship. I am happy to pay for comfort, quality and good service but if I am not going to get it, why bother. I just feel ripped off by totally misleading advertising. Perhaps with time they might get their act together but the ship will still be a very old ship and the makeover of the cabins could have been so much better. Browse the web, there is a good range out there. You can certainly do better than the Silver Galapagos. In the Galapagos this is a large ship. As a consequence there is quite a lot of queuing to get on the zodiacs on both the outward and return journeys.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We board the Silver Galapagos on December 11. We choose Silversea over Celebrity in order to get a better level of service and better food. Transfers in Quito and Guyaquil were perfect. Quito: after breakfast at 5:30 we went for luggage ... Read More
We board the Silver Galapagos on December 11. We choose Silversea over Celebrity in order to get a better level of service and better food. Transfers in Quito and Guyaquil were perfect. Quito: after breakfast at 5:30 we went for luggage inspection in the Marriott library at 6:00 AM and it was completed after 10 minutes. If you want to lock your luggages, do it right after the inspection is completed and before they put the blue tag seal. After, it is impossible to do it. You will see your luggage only in your cabin. We didn't had any inspection for hand luggages. Departure from hotel was at 7:00. Easy transfer to airport where a rep give boarding pass. No air condition in airport and bus in Baltra. After arriving at Baltra airport we wait for about 15 minutes to board a bus. About 10 minutes after we board the zodiac to go to the Silver Galapagos. All hand luggages are put in the middle of the zodiac. If the weather is good, no problem but if you get rain, I expect that everything will get wet... All hand luggages are put in the reception area on the Silver Galapagos and will be deliver to your cabin. So better to indicate your cabin # on your hand luggages. After a brief introduction and safety in case of emergency, you go for lunch. You are not allowed to go to your room befor 1PM. First excursion is at 3PM on a lava field in Sullivan Bay. Some travellers fall during this excursion, including my friend who is in good health and fitness. The expedition leader didn't explain well the difficulty of this first excursion. Most guides on the ship are very good but they walk at the speed of the travellers who walk fast. If your fitness level is not good, it will be difficult to follow. One woman had multiple sclerosis and it was difficult for her to follow the rythm during most of the hiking or walking excursions. FOOD: although Silversea has to comply with rules of Ecuador, it is not an excuse to give their customer wine which is not drinkable, orange juice which taste water, hard bread, cheese not fresh. I found a slug alive on my lettuce. No excuse....the waiter just laugh... Safe in your cabin: with a key that you have to bring with you and be carefull not to loose it... No electronic safe ... Cabin key: old style with holes in it. No electronic card. If you loose your cabin key, they have to replace the whole door. So they ask you to leave your cabin key at reception when you leave for excursions but they don't control who take it. So anyone can grab your cabin key with the number of cabin written on it...Not safe.... Temperature control in your cabin: impossible to control the temperature in your cabin. Very hot during the day and freezing at night and when you get up in the morning. Even with a blanket, it was inconfortable. The thermostat in the cabin doesn't work anymore. It is there only to give you the impression that you have a control... It was possible to do snorkelling only on 2 occasions. One was cancel because of the wind. On the second one (Post office bay) they forgot to tell us to go at the right of the beach to get better view... On the last day you have to empty your cabin for 8 AM and the transfer by zodiac begin around 9:00. The ship is old and it is evident on many aspects. We have enjoyed the cruise and what we have see but I think that compare to the cruise we did in Antartica last year (with the company du Ponant) , we have paid a very high price for what we got. The quality we expect from a company like Silversea was not met. I don't know if it is better or the same with Celebrity but I know that the price for a balcony cabin is about 2000$ less with Celebrity... If your are not in good physical condition, you will miss many visits and sights. I think it is easier with Celebrity because their zodiac have handrails and you don't have to climb a stair outside of the ship when you return from excursions. We were at the end of the dry season and it was very hot (around 85F). I am very happy we didn't go during the hot and rainy season...   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Silver Galapagos Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 3.0 4.0
Shore Excursions 5.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 5.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3

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